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The Gay Pimp and his Team Pimp vow to take over Tucson

The Gay Pimp is coming to take over Pride in the Desert—but he won't do it alone. His entourage, Team Pimp, will be there, too.

Who is the Gay Pimp? How can he and his entourage possibly take over Pride in the Desert? Well, the Gay Pimp is a renaissance man. He's flashy and raunchy. The Gay Pimp sings, dances and tells it like it is.

He is the alter ego of comedian Jonny McGovern. The Gay Pimp was born during a show McGovern developed in New York City called The Wrong Fag to Fuck With. The show was a response to Eminem rap songs; McGovern said the Gay Pimp plays an MTV pop star in a battle with homophobic rappers. Since then, the Gay Pimp has made several music videos and CDs, is on a television sketch show and even does a regular podcast.

So, naturally, taking over Tucson is next on his list.

McGovern's alter ego gained celebrity with the song and video "Soccer Practice"—and he did it before YouTube was an Internet staple. A Broadway producer helped out, and McGovern, along with some drag queens and go-go boys, filmed the video in an old YMCA locker room in New York. (Don't worry; "Soccer Practice" is now, in fact, on YouTube.)

So how did "Soccer Practice" push McGovern into the spotlight before YouTube hit it big?

"Once it was done, we sent it to all the gay video bars across the country, where people went crazy for it," McGovern said. "It started spreading like wildfire across the Internet and was downloaded more than 4 million times from my Web site."

The song has a dance-club feel to it. While hearing it, you'll want to dance, and you may not be able to get the words "soccer practice" out of your mind afterward. And then there's the eye popping, head-turning video that goes along with the song. (It takes place in a men's locker room, after all.)

After "Soccer Practice" became a sensation on MTV in Europe and Asia, McGovern took the Gay Pimp on a world tour, and he's made more music videos. Another song could be something of an anthem for gay teenagers. "Lookin' Cute/Feelin' Cute" depicts the Gay Pimp as a protector type: He tells the young ones to flaunt who they really are.

Team Pimp came together after the success of McGovern's first album, 2003's Dirty Gay Hits, which included "Soccer Practice" and "Lookin' Cute/Feelin' Cute."

"I had so much fun with all the people backing me up in my live shows that for my second CD, I decided to feature them prominently in the material," said McGovern.

The Gay Pimp was also a correspondent during the final season of The Ricki Lake Show and began appearing on VH1 and Comedy Central.

Currently, McGovern is a cast member on the Logo network's Big Gay Sketch Show, produced by Rosie O'Donnell. His podcast, Gay Pimpin' With Jonny McGovern, delivers what he calls "the gay pimp lifestyle." McGovern said some of his favorite celebrities and characters stop in and "spill the tea on their sexy adventures and gossip." The podcast also premieres new dance music and comedy sketches. McGovern claimed it's the no. 1 LGBT podcast; a new edition comes out every Tuesday.

McGovern promised a show new to Tucson during his performance at Pride in the Desert on Saturday.

"We turn, like a gay Transformer, into the ultimate gay super group," he said.

If that doesn't seem satisfying enough, there will be many other performances on the main stage. Ari Gold, a singer with a range including R&B, hip hop and jazz, will take the stage in what he calls an "energetic, sexy, electric, political, emotional journey."

"I believe my show epitomizes what pride is about," said Gold.

He said his songs are about relationships, relating to his straight brother and sisters, safe sex and gay marriage. "I cover a lot of ground for rights," he said.

Adam Joseph will also perform. (He'll sing backup with Jonny McGovern and Team Pimp, too.) Joseph describes himself as the "soulful hummingbird" part of the show. He'll sing R&B songs from his first album, How I Seem to Be, and he'll treat everyone to some unreleased work, too.

"I'll warm up the crowd so Jonny can knock 'em out," Joseph said.

All three performers (and the entourage) are giving their first Tucson shows ever at Pride in the Desert. The Gay Pimp promised to paint this town purple and pink.

After a day full of Pride in the Desert performances, Adam Joseph is scheduled to sing at 4:55 p.m. Ari Gold takes the stage 6:50 p.m., followed by Jonny McGovern and Team Pimp at 7:30 p.m. For more information and a full list of performers, visit tucsonpride.org.

More by Amanda Portillo

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